The Truth About Soy Milk

April 4, 2012

Soy milk was once thought of as a mere substitute for vegans and the lactose intolerant. The idea that a vegetable can produce milk may not be welcomed by all, especially meat-eaters, but now of days, people are changing their minds about soy milk and other soy products. It is no longer for one group of consumers. People who are concerned with their health in general, are now sharing a love for soy as they realize that there are many health benefits that come along with consuming it.

Soy Milk

There are

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many soy products to choose from (e.g., tofu, tempeh, soy cheese soy milk, etc.) Soy milk is probably the most popular soy product to crossover into

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mainstream diets. Soy milk obviously is not truly “milk”, however its use and other foods that can be produced from it mimic the use of animal’s milk. For example, cheeses, yogurts, ice creams can all be made from a soy base, creating a dairy-free version of any traditional milk product. The process of making soy milk is by grinding the soybean and emulsifying it with water. After the proteins coagulate, the liquid left over is drained and there is where you get your soy milk.


Benefit #1) To begin with soy milk packs a good amount of protein (about 35%) as it comes from a bean. It also contains a considerable amount more fiber than cow’s milk.

Benefit #2) One of the most beneficial components of soy milk is the fact that it contains something called isoflavones. These isoflavones act similar to hormones in certain respects. They have cancer-preventing properties as well as help prevent heart disease and osteoporosis. So for those who swear by cow’s milk for fear of losing bone density, soy milk can help you in that area.

Benefit #3) Many products, including dairy products, contain various hormones. From the farm to the factory, there are multiple pathways where hormones can be added and stripped away from cow’s milk. With organic soy products, there is no animal to feed these nasty hormones to. With organic, non-flavored soy products, you get the bean and nothing but the bean.

Benefit #4) For those with a family history of High Blood Pressure or Diabetes, switching to soy can change your Lipid Profile as well as limit insulin spikes. Both of these health conditions are growing epidemics in many countries, therefore this benefit speaks to many consumers who may be trying to avoid their genetic-related health concerns.


Consideration #1) The downside is that soy milk only contains about 25% of the calcium that can be found in cow’s milk. And although some brands are now fortifying their soy milk with added calcium, the mineral is best consumed in its natural state. Some additional ways to supplement our diet with calcium is to consume foods like sardines, almonds, and various leafy greens and other veggies. So if you are considering making the switch to soy, do not let the lack of calcium deter you.

Consideration #2) A common misconception is that soy milk is a lighter option in terms of being lower in calories or fat. The truth is that it is slightly higher in fat compared to 2% cow’s milk. Keep in mind that this is good fat and should not be categorized with the cholesterol found in animal’s milk. Therefore, switching from cow’s milk to soy milk may still aid your weight loss efforts.

Consideration #3) Although very minimal, as with many other food or environmental products, there is a minor risk for allergic reactions. Some children have been found to be allergic to some soy products, however the allergic reaction is usually very mild.

Consideration #4) Because soy contains isoflavones, it can mimic hormones that naturally occur in the body, which can be problematic for women with breast cancer. It is important to note that soy products will not cause breast cancer. Rather, the isoflavones can increase the rate at which cancerous cells grow. Although studies on this differ in their conclusions, this is just another point to consider.

It is important to keep in mind that all of these health benefits are suggested assuming only that you are consuming non-genetically modified soy products. Be sure to read food and nutrition labels carefully so that you do not fall into this trap. Products labeled “organic soy” are safe in that they have not been modified with herbicides. Otherwise, if you do not see this phrase, assume the worst! All of these other products are most likely herbicide-treated.

Looking at the overall picture and the general population, making the switch to soy may be the right option for you. You can begin with trying it in your coffee or cereal, although you will not reap the entire benefits, as you will be consuming too little. Then bump it up and increase the amount you intake. If you are not converted into a soy-lover, at least you tried and at least now you know the truth about soy.


  • oana79 April 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    We liked it for a while but we decided to diversify recently. Rice milk at the moment.

    • Elena Anne April 6, 2012 at 9:53 am

      Hello Oana,
      Yes, rice milk is one more option, but I don’t know if it has the same amount of protein.
      Thanks for shearing :)

      • Robert April 25, 2012 at 6:43 pm

        I was wondering exactly why you decided to forego cows milk. I have heard a lot of negative things about consuming lots of soy. We drink raw cows milk that comes from a biodynamic farm. It is a small family farm, the cows have names, are pasture grazed and well cared for. We have 2 coolers each with four 1/2 gallon glass ball jars and each week we get a cooler of milk and exchange it for the cooler with the empties. If you quit cows milk because you did not want to support the Big Organic farms then check out It is a site that promotes raw milk and tells you where all the farms are that sells it. It seems there are about 100 places to buy it in Washington. You may find one near you.

        • Elena Anne May 7, 2012 at 8:09 am

          Hello Robert,
          It depends on the amount of milk you consume, even if it is from cows or soy. When I talk about cow’s milk, I mean the milk you find in supermarket. Of course the raw milk from biodynamic farms is much more nutrient than the common one! But if you noticed, I put this post in the vegan category. Vegans don’t have many choices if they want to drink milk. Thank you for sharing Robert

    • Pallavita April 25, 2012 at 10:44 am

      Yeah, I didn’t know:1. that you could make soy milk yourself (duh – I feurgid it was some big industrial process or something)2. that there even existed machines to make it. I stumbled upon the machines as I was researching local organic soymilk sources and thought, holy cow! (or should that be holy soybeans!), this fits in with my “make it yerself” plans.qt – we’ll still be buying milk for making our own yogurt. Maybe one of these days I’ll try to find a recipe for making soy yogurt. Does anyone know if you can just substitute soy milk for cow’s milk in making yogurt????dumpsterdiva – I’ve read negative things about soy. And I’ve read negative things about cow’s milk. No matter how you slice it, the impact on the environment from raising cattle sustainably versus raising soy sustainably is still confusing as to which one comes out ahead. It all depends on the grower and the method of transport. I don’t know much about raw milk, but the idea gives me the willies. Maybe I read too much 18th century literature…

      • Elena Anne May 7, 2012 at 7:57 am

        You are right Pallavita. Both milks have their dark sides. You know what you eat, only if you produce it yourself. Thanks for your points :)

  • Erica Price April 5, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Interesting to find out more about soy milk. How does it compare to cow’s milk tastewise?

  • Harleena Singh@Freelance Writer April 5, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Interesting post!

    I do know there are lots of health benefits if you choose to drink soy milk, though not everyone is able to do so, especially if you are not able to develop the taste for it. But yes, you can choose other options like tofu etc, though they do turn out a little costly unless you make them at home.

    Also, it is not available readily in all the places I feel. Not as easily available as the packed or cows milk. However, I liked your points shared about its benefits, as it is a rich source of protein nonetheless.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

  • jan April 21, 2012 at 2:13 am

    That’s a really comprehensive article Elena Anne with a good look at the pros and cons. The only thing that I would add is that I only buy soy milk made from organic soy beans and it has to be made from whole beans – not soy protein isolate which goes through a terrible heat and chemical process to extract the product! If I couldn’t get organic I would at least make sure that it was made from whole beans.

    For years and years I used to get terrible sinus infections and would always need 2 lots of the double antibiotic that was the only thing that would get rid of it, until I stopped drinking milk! It was like magic, I have not had sinus headaches or taken antibiotics for years now.

    We are very lucky in Australia, for many years now it has been illegal for farmers to add hormones to any meat – beef, lamb, chickens.

    • Elena Anne April 23, 2012 at 9:31 pm

      I believe it Jan. Μilk can causes problems for many people. In the stomach, intestine, headaches like you said and more. I agree that it is much better to buy organic soy milk. Most of the soy that is produced is GM, so as we buy organic products we avoid this. Good points Jan thank you!

  • Felicia @ No Deposit Poker May 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    The only soy product I consume that I’m aware of is tofu. I never really knew that soy and soy milk had these many benefits. Thanks.

  • Julidarma December 20, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Soy milk made of soy bean. It contain many protein and other essential nutrients. I love this beverage.

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